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Drink Up

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“They’re very particular about their food and drink,” Allura had warned, “no matter how… unfavourable, please, do your best to consume whatever it may be. We don’t want to offend them and ruin all that we’ve worked for.” 

Voltron had spent two days emancipating Daeliv from the Galra, and a banquet was held in their honour after the dust settled. Lance’s body still ached from the battle, but he put on his most dazzling smile when they opened the grand doors of the palace. 

The Daelivians were tall, white humanoids, with not an inch of hair on their bodies and eyes so large and black Lance couldn’t look at them for longer than a few seconds. They were jarring, and an entire room full of them was even more so, and he gulped at the prospect of having to socialise with them.

They were unnerving creatures that looked like they belonged in an indie horror film that Lance would never sit down to watch, and he hovered close to Hunk who himself looked a little spooked. He would’ve loved to socialise, would’ve loved their adoring eyes on him, but Lance was spent and sore and would’ve rathered a sleepover in the lounge if he was honest. 

Not that he would ever admit that in front of the other Paladins, he’d never hear the end of it. 

They were lead up a long staircase and whisked into a large room. The space looked more suited to a ballroom, with a high ceiling and impressive detail on the towering columns, but one long table was positioned in the centre and housed the Daelivian royalty and generals. 

All those in attendance had multiple drinks before them, leaving a myriad of colour staining the stark white tablecloth. There were none in front of them where the Paladins were seated, and Lance felt oddly left out. 

“Paladins! Welcome to Daeliv, we are humbled by your presence,” The advisor at the head of the table spoke with grandeur, his arms raised and commanding the entire rooms attention, “I hope this is the beginning of a long-standing alliance.”

Servants appeared behind the paladin’s seats, each with a silver tray in hand. Balancing on top was a tall glass, the five all different shades that corresponded to their suits. Lance bit his tongue as his was planted in front of him, the aroma both somehow bitter and a sickly saccharine. Keith especially turned up his nose at it.  

“Please, enjoy our festivities,” His black eyes glinted, and Lance swallowed hard, “eat and drink until you no longer can.” 

Lance peered down at the bubbling blue liquid, everything in his being telling him not to drink. They looked different to the others around them. He elbowed Hunk, who had a similar grimace on his face, “We don’t seriously have to drink this, do we?” 

“I don’t want to,” Hunk picked up the spindly glass, giving it a hesitant sniff and recoiling, “I really don’t want to.” 

“Guys,” Shiro’s voice was subdued and held a lilt of authority, “what did I say on the ship?”

“Manners!” Pidge imitated in her best gruff voice, her hands on her hips and Lance stifled a chortle, “Be on your best behaviour.” 

“If being on your best behaviour includes drinking battery acid, I’d rather not.” Lance covered his mouth, having not expected Keith’s quiet outburst. It was nice, seeing him without a stick up his ass. 

“Keith,” Shiro chided, quickly putting on a smile when the alien beside him stirred. “I don’t want to do this either, but it’s for the best. We’re lucky we even got this far, and I’m going to have to be the one to explain to Allura why the alliance fell through, and I don’t want to do that.” 

Shiro, in a display of leadership, grabbed the drink and took a giant swig. The glass was empty when it settled back on the table, and Shiro’s face twisted monetarily before it settled into a timid smile, “See? It didn’t taste that bad.” 

Pidge toyed with her own drink, as did Hunk, the pair giving each other a wilting shrug before downing the liquid. They pulled similar expressions, leaving Keith and Lance as the only two remaining and it left Lance’s face hot.

Logically he knew it wasn’t a game, there was nothing to win, but he downed his glass before Keith could even think about touching his own. It tasted exactly how it smelt, and it took Lance all of his willpower not to stick out his tongue. He swore he could feel the bubbles in his throat, popping all the way down his esophagus. 

The Paladins looked expectantly to Keith, who rolled his eyes, held his nose, and downed the drink. 

“There,” Shiro coughed, his eyes still slightly watery, “wasn’t so bad.”

Pidge, who still looked queasy, grumbled a sullen, “If you say so.” 

The night followed as expected, with more food and drinks presented to them. Lance did his best to eat what he could, holding his nose on occasion and giving the Daelivian beside him a teary eyed thumbs up. He attributed the brewing nausea to the food itself, it was somehow worse than the castle goo.

“I’m not feeling too hot, Shiro,” Lance muttered when his stomach refused to stop making noises, gurgling with each of his movements, “I think I need some air.”

“You and me both,” Pidge was slumped down her seat, uncaring of the royalty frowning down at her. 

Shiro motioned to the far end of the room, the ornate glass door revealing a wide balcony. He himself looked ashen, sweat beading at his temples, and Lance knew he wouldn’t admit it, “Be quick, I’m going to try and wrap things up here.” Keith grumbled a low, ‘thank God’ and Hunk continued to stare at the same spot on the wall. 

As Lance stood up he noticed two things. 

One, the advisor was watching the Paladins like a hawk, eyes hungry and hooded. 

Two, the floor was hard and cold when he collapsed, and the shadows that gathered around him were too tall and lanky to be the Paladins. 

All Lance managed was a quiet, ‘Mierda…’ before the shadows overwhelmed him, swallowing him whole.




Lance awoke with his cheek pressed against something warm. 

It was jarring, considering the rest of his body was cold, and he subconsciously shifted closer to the warmth. The serenity was broken by a low groan, and Lance pulled himself onto his elbows to complain about the disturbance. 

He was met with Keith’s curious, sleep filled eyes, peering down at Lance where he lay in his lap. Lance squawked and flailed, as graceful as a newborn giraffe, and landed hard against a wall. 

“Nice of you to join us,” Pidge said to his right, and Lance was finally coherent enough to understand where he was. A cell, they were in a cell, with tall walls and no discernible door, and Lance had no idea how they’d gotten there.

“Wait, wait,” He rubbed his eyes once, twice, and still nothing changed, “what happened?” 

“Pidge believes we were drugged,” Shiro was standing by the far wall, eyes narrowed like he was searching for a way out, “and I believe her.” 

“So the drinks didn’t just taste bad, they were bad,” Hunk said. 

Lance crawled over to him and pretended he hadn’t just woken up lying on Keith, “Are you hurt?”

“I’m okay, are you okay?” Despite the blow to his ego Lance felt okay, if not still a little drowsy, so he nodded and Hunk let out a sigh of relief. “I was getting a little worried, you guys were out the longest.” 

“Are you okay Keith?” Keith waved off Shiro with a quiet huff.

“How long have we been here?”

“A few hours, probably,” Pidge's glasses sat askew on her nose, “we haven’t found a way out. The mechanisms of the cell are strange, there’s no obvious doorway, and I can’t see any cameras. Not to mention Allura and Coran probably have no idea what happened to us.” 

“So what you’re saying is, we’re screwed.” 

Pidge glanced at Lance, “I’m not saying we’re not screwed.” Lance, with his mind still too fuzzy to even try and begin to understand that, slumped and fell against Hunk's shoulder. 

His bones felt like lead, his tongue too big for his mouth, and he cringed at the thought of how dry his skin would become in the cell, “I think it’s safe to say we can take the Daelivians off our Christmas card list.” The joke settled in the air, and all it earned was a subdued huff from Keith. Lance saw that as a small victory. 

Another hour passed with much of the same. 

No guards, no doors, and no way home. Lance was bored out of his mind, having tried to sleep but to no avail. Hunk stayed beside him, and he wasn’t saying much at all, while the other Paladins continued to stalk around the room like the action in itself would reveal a doorway. 

No one had spoken much, and Lance was dragged from his almost slumber by Hunk’s voice cutting through the silence. 

“Guys..." He sounded unsure of himself, like he himself didn't believe it, "I can’t move.” 

Shiro shuffled over to where Hunk was seated, the apex of concern, “Try and wiggle your fingers, do you feel faint?” 

Hunk was quiet for a long moment, like he had tried to do something, but all he could manage was a faint widening of his eyes, “Everything feels heavy, Shiro, I can’t do anything. What’s happening?!” 

“You’re talking and you’re conscious,” Shiro’s voice was soothing, and it quelled some of Lance’s own anxiety, albeit barely, “hold onto that. I’ll try and contact the castle again and see what Coran has to say, it’ll be okay Hunk.”

“We’re talking alien drugs here, there might be toxins and side effects,” Pidge pondered and if Hunk could move he would’ve shuddered. “Is anybody else feeling weird?” 

Lance had noticed the lump in the back of his throat, but he didn’t think any of it until he had to think about it, “Um, a little?”

“You too, Lance?” Shiro asked. He was gnawing at his lip, having been unable to contact the castle. It was a long shot, he knew that, of course any connection had been severed in their captivity, “This is my fault, I never should have pressured you all to drink.” 

“Shiro, you’re not about to do that,” Pidge had that tone of her voice that Shiro used on her, and in any other circumstance Lance would’ve found it amusing, but the longer he noticed the lump the more pressing it became. “You had no idea, none of us did. We have no idea what the Daelivians want, so we’ll just wait here until something happens.” 

“Like we have any other choice,” Keith grumbled, kicking the wall with his boot. 

Lance opened his mouth to let out one of his usual retorts, they’d become as easy as breathing, but choked on his words. He attributed it to the stale air and tried again. He choked, harsher this time, and Lance’s eyes teared up at the razor sharp pain that blossomed. 

Shiro rushed over, a firm hand on his shoulder, “Lance? Where does it hurt?” Lance pointed to his throat, instinctively trying to talk and keening when he was unable to. It was a white hot pain, flaring like a persistent sore throat, and it seemed to get worse with every attempt. 

Pidge looked between Lance and Hunk with a frown, starting to mutter lowly to herself to logically understand what was unfolding. 

“Try and stop talking, Lance,” Shiro’s lips twisted, and he looked between the remaining Paladins with uncertainty. “If either of you feel something strange, let me know immediately.”

“Same goes for you, Shiro,” Keith had drifted closer to the group, and he eyed Lance curiously. “What’s their endgame with this? Why is Lance shutting up a win for them?” Lance lashed out at Keith, and punched his shoulder. The latter barely reacted. 

“It’s a drug, Keith,” Pidge looked worlds away despite being a few metres from them, “these are symptoms of an undesirable side effect. It’s not targeted or focused, it couldn’t be…” 

Keith raised an eyebrow, catching onto her hesitation as Lance had, “Are you sure? They were insistent on us having those drinks.”

“... and they used their cultural sensitivities to ensure we did,” Pidge’s face crumbled, and she rubbed her eyes beneath her glasses, “oh no, Shiro-”  

“I heard,” Shiro’s face had grown thunderous, and Lance found some hope in that look. It was the look he had during battle when one of them was hurt, the one that ensured he’d do anything to get them home safe. He didn’t say anything more, keeping his thoughts to himself and brooding on his lonesome. 

Ten minutes passed, then twenty, and Lance couldn’t help but think the other Paladins had forgotten him. 

Hunk stayed beside him, murmuring quiet things to keep himself from panicking, but Lance still felt useless as Keith and Pidge bounced ideas off of each other. It was like he was being ignored, and it made Lance curl into himself. 

“I’m scared, Lance,” Hunk confessed, “what if the Daelivians burst in and try to hurt you guys, I couldn’t do anything but watch.” Lance could only listen, and it physically pained him to not be able to soothe Hunk and tell him what he needed to hear. 

Shiro was the next to be struck down by the undesirable side effect. It was abrupt, Shiro flinching suddenly and violently. Lance didn’t understand it at first, thinking Shiro had reacted to something in the room, but it happened again. And again. And again. 

Keith was on his feet immediately. He reached for Shiro, but backed off when he shrunk away from him. He paled and turned to Pidge, and all she could do was shrug. 

Lance watched Shiro carefully, and quickly noticed the pattern. He opened his mouth but stopped himself just in time, the ghost of the pain enough to silence him. He clicked his fingers and pointed to his eyes, blinking them rapidly in the hope they’d understand. 

“His eyes?” Pidge muttered, looking at Shiro like one would a puzzle, “What do you mean?” Lance stared at her for a long moment, and Pidge huffed, “Sorry! It’s just… I don’t understand what you’re getting at.”

Keith inhaled sharply, “Every time he blinks, it’s happening when he blinks.” Lance clapped and clicked his fingers, but went still the moment Shiro flinched again. 

“Shiro?” Keith tried again, keeping his distance, “What’s happening?” 

Shiro hit the wall and slowly sunk down it, collapsing on the floor in an organised heap. His eyes were wide open, the strain in them apparent, and his words made Lance even more nauseous, “Memories... whenever I blink.” 

It was a tad curt and achingly direct, but the Paladins understood immediately. Lance frowned. Pidge grit her teeth. Hunk sighed. Keith tensed. Shiro, against his will and his painfully red eyes, blinked, and went eerily still. It was obvious he was trying to maintain some semblance of composure around them, and Lance wanted to tell him it was okay.

“Keith,” Pidge spoke quietly, drawing her knees to her chest, “what’s going to happen to us?” 

Keith didn’t answer. 

Hunk was the only one speaking for a long while, and Lance found stability in it. He was talking about nothing and everything, less about his anxiety and more about random general knowledge he’d picked up about other species from around the galaxy. 

“... Eenans are very particular about their hair, which is fitting with how long they keep it. I remember when we were on Trion, and I almost stepped on the Prince’s hair. That would’ve been a disaster. I wonder what they use to keep it so healthy, probably...” 

Lance let his eyes droop. Hunk’s voice was an eternal comfort, and he wasn’t sure how long he drifted until his voice brought him back from the brink of unconsciousness for the second time that night. 

“Keith…” Hunk trailed off. He sounded half choked, and it sent a wave of fear through Lance. He turned to Keith, wondering what Hunk had seen, and went stock still. Keith looked fine, and seemed to be confused at Hunk’s concern, but Lance could only focus on his eyes.

White scleras had turned a pale yellow, his pupils long and pointed, and the purple of his irises seemed to glow in the dim lighting. 

“What?” Keith looked down at himself, patting his armour down frantically, “Hunk, it’s not funny. What?” His words were slightly slurred, and Lance wasn’t sure if he was imagining the growth of his incisors.

Lance pinched himself, begging his body to wake up, but seconds passed and he was still in the cell, unable to even shriek at the sight of Keith. Pidge, luckily, shouted for Lance, and clambered away from Keith out of pure shock, “What the fuck?!” 

It startled Shiro, and one look at Keith was enough for him to scramble to the opposite corner, as far from him as possible. It stung, and Lance wasn’t even on the opposite end of the blow. 

By now Keith was breathing heavily, chest rising and falling at an alarming rate, that all so familiar temper of his burning bright. He looked to Lance for answers, and he pointed to his eyes. Keith’s shaky fingers hovered over them, obviously unable to see the problem. 

“They’re yellow,” Pidge answered, in a state of awe or shock, Lance was unsure, “they look…” She trailed off her sentence, but they all knew what she’d omitted. 

Keith reached for Pidge’s glasses, and peered into them slowly. He reared back, his transformed eyes wide in horror, and went incredibly still. His lip trembled, and Lance swiftly averted his own eyes.

“Pidge?” Hunk was finally able to look away from Keith, “How are you feeling?”

Pidge retrieved and adjusted her glasses, frowned, then put them back on. She repeated the action multiple times before she let out a resigned groan, “I can’t see anything.” 

“Even with your glasses on?” Pidge turned her head in Hunk’s general direction with a raised brow, “Right, sorry.” 

“This is, by far, the worst diplomatic mission yet,” Pidge fell onto her back, and Lance struggled to read her reaction outside of exasperation. “What do they want? How does this benefit them?” 

Lance rolled over to lie beside her. He tapped the floor to get her attention, and sent her a thumbs up. He was quick to wince, and he cursed himself. She can’t fucking see you, genius.

Hunk, ever observant, came to his rescue, “Uh, I think Lance wants to know if you’re okay, Pidge.” 

“I think so,” Pidge rubbed her chin, contemplating the question, “I mean it’s a little terrifying, but I honestly expected worse. I’ve got you guys to be my eyes so I’ll be fine.” 

The response squeezed Lance’s heart. It was something his sister would say. 

“We need to get out of here,” Keith was on his feet pacing. He avoided Shiro like the plague, but it looked like it was taking a considerable effort. Lance followed those glowing eyes, forcing himself to grow more used to them with each lap. 

“Do you feel different, Keith?” Pidge asked.

Keith spun around in a flurry, lips curled, “You mean do I feel Galra?” The word silenced the Paladins like he’d struck them, “No, I just feel angry.” His eyes darted to Shiro and he bared his teeth. 

“Are you sure you don’t?” Hunk raised his hands at Keith’s low growl, “Okay! I believe you! And how do you suppose we get out of here? There hasn’t been a single guard, and our communications are dead.”

“We wait for them to come to us.”

“And then what? Pidge can’t see, Shiro’s… out of action, and I can’t move,” Hunk looked increasingly distressed the longer he spoke, and for the first time in the cell Lance wanted him to stop talking, “it’s not looking great.” 

Keith glanced at Lance who threw up his hands, unable to contribute his lack of a plan. If anything, he was just glad they remembered he was there, even if he was lying uselessly on the ground. It was the most attention he'd gotten in an hour, he'd take it.

As if on command there was a low bang, and one of the large walls shifted. Lance was on his feet and in front of Hunk and Pidge immediately, grateful that Shiro was in the farthest corner from the door. Keith stood in front of Lance, his lack of a bayard not a problem as his long fingers graced the knife they hadn’t found. 

The guard was barely in the room when Keith pounced. They were on the ground in a second, leg bent at a sickening angle and Keith’s knife firmly against their throat. “What did you do to us?” He commanded, pressing the knife down when the guard failed to answer, already looking to be drifting unconscious from the wound. 

“What did we do to you?” Pidge countered, her voice just as enraged as Keith’s, “The Princess will never forge an alliance with your planet after what you’ve done, it doesn’t make any sense.” 

“If you took a moment to think, it would make sense, Green Paladin,” It was a familiar voice, and the Daelivian advisor from the banquet soon strolled into the cell. "It appears the Galra were right about the victorious Voltron after all.”

The advisor moved with shocking speed, even faster than Keith who swiped at his chest. There was something that glinted in his hand, Lance choked on his warning, and they could only watch as something thick and metallic locked itself around Keith’s neck.

It sent him flying with incredible force against the back wall, the collar clasping on the wall and holding him in place. Shiro stirred, but stayed still, and Lance struggled to hold his ground.

“I was curious what would happen to the Red Paladin,” The advisor spoke casually, like Keith wasn’t rubbing his fingers raw to free himself, “our scans did show Galra blood after all. 

“The rest of you, however, were human,” His spat on the ground as if the word offended him, “weak, unfit to hold the weight of the universe on your shoulders. How could we possibly side with you? How could you believe we would?”

“There’s these things called honour, and optimism,” Pidge said, “I’m sure you’re unfamiliar with them.” 

The advisor looked down at Pidge, “You are a child, what do you know of the world?”

“We know the universe, and what siding with the Galra is doing to it,” Hunk spoke with confidence, his jaw jutted upwards, and Lance felt a spark of pride. “You’re on the wrong side.”

Lance followed the advisor as he attempted to walk to Shiro, and he couldn’t help his shiver as those disconcerting black eyes landed on him. His hands were ice cold when they grasped his chin, turning his face this way and that, “What fear does to your kind is fascinating, it renders you entirely immobile.

“Our formula is not strong by any means,” He continued, “we merely use the toxin against our criminals to disorient them. But it does something entirely different with your DNA, targeting your innermost fears and exploiting them, controlling you.” 

The advisor’s face split into an unnerving grin, “I’m sure the empire would love to know what we’ve learned here tonight.” 

Lance squirmed out of his grasp. He took a page from Keith’s book and aimed for his throat, but the advisor intercepted his hand lazily. The world tilted when he was thrown to the ground, and Lance bit his tongue to stop from making any noise. 

He looked up at Keith. He had somehow lifted his feet to the wall beside his head, and was now pushing with all his might to free himself. Lance had no time to wonder how he managed that, already on his feet and throwing himself at the advisor before he could reach Shiro. 

“Pidge!” Hunk called, “Jump to your right!” 

Lance held the advisor down as Pidge landed awkwardly on his sprawled legs. For good measure Lance banged his head against the concrete floor, giving him time to search his belt for any weapons or keys. His fingers found a metallic circle, and he pressed it without thinking.

There was a buzz, and a shriek before a body hit the ground. Lance clicked his fingers and Keith was quick to find his feet, adding more weight on the advisor’s chest. The Daelivians were strong, and Lance hoped it was enough to hold him down. 

“Shiro,” Keith looked to the Black Paladin, still unresponsive in the corner, “Shiro I know… I know what you’re dealing with, but we need you.” Shiro barely stirred, and Keith looked to Hunk, “What now?” 

“There’s no use, Paladins-” Keith violently slammed the advisor’s head on the ground, with far more force than Lance’s previous blow and with a far better outcome. He was out cold, his long, pale tongue lolled out of his mouth.  

“I still can’t move.”

“We need an antidote,” Pidge said, “we aren’t getting out of here without one.” 

“If there's one it'll be close. Lance and I will find it,” Lance’s eyes widened, but Keith had already made up his mind. He reached for his fallen blade and looked at Lance expectantly, “You’re the only one that can help me, come on.” 

Hunk didn’t seem convinced, “What if more guards come in? We can’t do anything.”

“We’ll close the door, they won’t suspect anything they way,” Keith raided the advisor’s belt and pocketed a band of keys. With the lack of light his suit looked black, and Lance couldn’t help but think it suited him. Something twisted in his stomach, and he thwarted the feeling before it spread.

Keith looked to Shiro when they were half out the door. He hesitated, and Lance almost ran into his back, but he moved out of the way before he could. The door slammed shut after Keith jostled the keys over a scanner, and the two of them were left on their own. 

The corridor was white and silent, the red and blue a stark juxtaposition. Lance looked to Keith for instructions, but the latter was just as confounded, “I didn’t think this through.” When do you ever, Lance would have responded, the fire in his throat dousing the words before he could try. 

They decided to go left, and looked for any door that signalled a laboratory of some sort. Keith kept his footfalls light, and Lance copied him, the pair keeping as quiet as possible in case any guards came their way. He felt naked without his bayard, and it left Lance’s palms sweaty and exposed. 

Lance hissed as Keith abruptly struck his chest and pushed him harshly into an alcove. Lance’s back was against the wall, and Keith was pressed tight against him. Lance bit the inside of his cheek when a guard wandered by, none the wiser to their presence. 

A second passed, then two, and Keith backed away from him. His glowing eyes were still unnerving, but Lance felt remarkably safe under their scrutiny. It was yet another thing he wouldn’t admit out loud. 

Keith’s lips twisted, “You’re too quiet.” Lance pushed him away and moved down the corridor, knowing Keith would follow. 

The following minutes were excruciatingly tense, and Lance had to quell the urge to run back to check on Hunk, Pidge, and Shiro. Logically he knew they were safer in the cell, but Lance also expected to be safe in the palace and that clearly hadn’t gone to plan.

The band of keys jingled when Keith eyed them, and he held them up to one of the obscure shapes on the door adjacent. The symbols matched and Lance clicked his fingers, Keith hurriedly scanning the wall. There was a buzz, and a low hum, before the door slid open.

A Daelivian doctor was standing there, clad in an earth looking lab coat, and Keith’s knife was at their throat before they could they even blink. He was sharp and direct, “You poisoned us, where’s the antidote?” 

The doctor shut their mouth and Keith growled, “We aren’t in the mood, and you’re not important to keep alive,” Lance shivered, able to hear Shiro’s disappointed contempt in his mind, “Where is it?” 

“I am unsure.”

Lance flicked the doctor in the head and stuck out his tongue. He eyed off the room in search for any kind of vial or bubbling liquid. Anything that mirrored what they’d drank would be helpful, and even if they couldn’t find a direct antidote Coran would be able to do something with the poison itself.

“Anything?” Keith asked and Lance shook his head. He turned his attention back to the doctor and shoved them into the room. The Daelivian hit a table, jostling small instruments and it sounded like nails on a chalkboard in the silence. 

“You will not find what you’re looking for, half breed,” Keith bristled at the word, and Lance grimaced, “you will do better to sit and wait for the Galra to collect you.” 

“We’re not too patient,” Keith threw the Daelivian across the room. They hit a shelf, and Lance jumped as it fell and crashed onto their slumped body. Keith cursed, and scoured the rest of the shelves for anything, “Dammit, there’s nothing here.”

Lance disagreed. 

He wandered to the corner of the room to a small frosted glass cabinet, seemingly out of place with the rest of the pristine room. It was previously hidden by a piece of fabric, but it had fallen alongside the shelf. He clicked to get Keith’s attention, and heard him sidling up behind him. 

Lance grabbed the keys and used one of the sharper ones to poke a hole in the glass. It shattered, and Lance struck it again and again to give a clear hole for his hand. With the glass cleared, it revealed a spindly black vial, the bubbling liquid a muted white.

“Do you think this is it?”

Lance shrugged and pocketed the vial. The ‘hopefully’ was left unsaid, but he knew Keith had heard it. 

Arriving back at the cell was a relief.

Hunk cheered as quietly as he could, and Pidge looked just as relieved at the sight of Keith and Lance. By some miracle, Shiro was out of the corner and next to Hunk, looking slightly less shaken but still slightly out of it. 

“Did you find it?”

Lance retrieved the vial, and handed it to Keith who replied, “I think so.”

Pidge’s made a horrified noise, “You think so? We’re talking an antidote here, Keith, we need to know we aren’t poisoning ourselves further.”

Keith stepped over the fallen Daelivians like they weren’t even there. He sent Shiro a levelled look that he returned, and he seemed to relax immediately, “They were hiding it, and it smells like what we drank. It’s a gamble but,” Keith glanced at Lance, “I trust it’s what we’re looking for.”

“So… whose drinking it first?” Hunk asked the question they were all hesitant to ask. 

Keith eyed the liquid and held it to his lips, “If we’re wrong, it was Lance’s idea.” Lance had no time to punch Keith in the arm, as he had already taken a sip of the antidote. 

Nothing happened for a long moment, and the room fell deathly lull until Keith coughed. 

It was loud and wet, and Lance hit his back. He continued to cough and Lance took hold of his chin, watching his eyes carefully for any kind of change. There was a ripple, and another sickening cough before his pupils abruptly rounded. Lance’s heart soared when his scleras bled back to their normal yellow, and he clapped excitedly.

He grabbed the vial and handed it to Hunk, then Pidge, then Shiro. The coughing was unpleasant, but with each second that passed and the Paladins shifted and blinked back into action, Lance felt that flicker of hope flourish. He was the last to take a sip, and he gagged when the bubbling liquid slid down his throat.

His nose burned, and it smelled a lot like the dregs of a blood nose, but the persistent ache in his throat was squandered with each tentative swallow. Lance still felt frightened to speak, but with the way the Paladins were up and moving he knew he would be okay, and Coran would heal any further ailments. 

Keith came up to him after he’d spoken quietly to Shiro. Hunk was in the middle of organising an escape plan with Pidge, and the Black Paladin was quick to join them. It left the two of them alone by the threshold.

Keith pat him on the shoulder, “I was ready to storm out of that room, if it wasn’t for your eyes we’d be screwed.” Lance’s cheeks reddened, and he grit his teeth in an attempt to maintain eye contact. 

“We make a pretty good team,” was the first thing Lance said, and Keith’s mouth fell agape. 

“I knew you remembered, what the-!”